Travelling in Pune..

Pune – a metropolis surrounded by lush green hills and pleasant weather, was once the heart of the Maratha Empire as the Peshwas resided here and today, it’s known as the ‘Oxford of the East’ due to its numerous education institutes. Pune is also best-known for it’s food and cafes.

13.11.2016:

20.30 hrs – The bus reached Shivaji Nagar Railway station and we started walking towards a restaurant for having our dinner when Mythri stopped at a pani-puri wala πŸ™‚ . One of the most popular street foods all over India – Pani Puri (called Puchkas in Bengal and golgappe in Punjab). Puris are puffed, hollow dough balls, fried to a light crispiness and filled with a masala of cooked potatoes, peas or chickpeas, and served with pani (water), a sweet and sour, tangy chutney made with tamarind or coriander. We had 5 puris each and walked towards the restaurant.

The first question we asked the waiter is whether they gonna accept debit cards, and the answer was instant, they do πŸ™‚ . We ordered for some jeera rice, aloo mattar and vegetable raitha as well as some coke. Food tastes better with coke :-p . During our train journey from Lonavala to Pune, Mythri booked our bus tickets to Shirdi, while waiting for the food, I reserved a room for us at Shirdi. Online made everything easy. Thanks to red bus and make my trip πŸ™‚ . We have to kill sometime as our bus is only at 22.30 hrs.

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Thanks to the waiter, as they served our food a bit late, so that the pani puris which we had earlier would have occupied a corner in our stomachs and we can fill the remaining with the food we ordered πŸ˜€ . The food arrived and we ate at a much lesser pace so that we can sit for more time there πŸ˜€ . 21.40 hrs – We finally made a move towards our boarding point which is like a 10 min walk from the restaurant. 22.00 hrs – I made a call to the bus driver to just make sure that we were at the right place waiting for the bus. The bus driver asked us to come to another pick-up point which is like another 5 mins from the point where we were waiting.

22.40 hrs – Boarded the bus to Shiridi, our next destination. Settled down with a blanket covering our faces, I didn’t even notice when our bus moved off πŸ™‚ . A long day.. Wasn’t it??

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Aagayi Mein Khandala ;-)

Aey, Kya Bolti Tu
Aey, Kya Mein Bolun
Sun,
Suna,
Aati Kya Khandala
Kya,Karoon, Aake Mein Khandala,
Arey Ghoomenge Phirenge Nachenge Gaaenge
Aish Karenge Aur Kya

While the perfectionist of Bollywood Amir Khan asked Rani Mukherjee for an outing to Khandala, the Versatile actor of Bollywood Farhan Akhtar too the most beautiful Deepika to Khandala for a coffee! Not only Bollywood, but also the young super star of Tollywood (the Telugu film industry) Mahesh Babu chose the very same Khandala as home in his debut film! What else could be a more better introduction? Isn’t it? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

13.11.2016:

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Lonavla and Khandala are two sister hill stations in Maharashtra (7-8 km apart), at an elevation of 653 km from sea level. Located at the top end of Bhor Ghat, Khandala is at the heart of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and a favorite weekend gateway. And if you remember, we just had a quick view of Lonavala and here we are at Khandala.Β The best viewpoints are Tiger’s Leap and Amrutanjan Point. And our first choice is the Tiger’s Leap. While some told that, that was the Tiger’s Leap, some called it the Monkey point. Whatever it might be, we are there and the salubrious air was soothing.

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One can get a beautiful panoramic view of Lonavala and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway cutting those mountains. The view is breath-taking. A quick photographic session and we moved towards the Waghjai Devi temple, a temple dedicated to the goddess Waghjai. The idol of the goddess is quite different from the other shrines which I had visited so far and it is said that the Navratri festival will be celebrated here with much pomp πŸ™‚ We sat there in the temple for a few minutes and started walking towards the back of it.

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There were few youngsters walking in front of us and we followed them. There we were, at the edge of the cliff with a valley infront of us and this is also the place where I saw the people’s obsession with selfies. All of a sudden, a youngster jumped on to a tree which is right there at the edge and was trying to get a selfie. He was absolutely careless about his own life and more careful of getting a perfect selfie! How ridiculous!! It’s totally alright to take selfies, but not at the cost of one’s own life. Isn’t it?

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After all this, we were starving. Remember, we just had only a vada-pav from the time we stepped in Lonavala. And luckily, there is a small restaurant and it was buzzing with people all around ordering for food and tea. We asked for some paneer pakoda, jeera rice and dahi (curd). A chilly evening and pakoda – what a combo! πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ Time to leave these beautiful hill-stations back. Our auto-wala dropped us at the Lonavala railway station from where we would be catching a train to Pune.

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17.00 hrs – Again, the demonetization effect, we preferred a second-class ticket for an express train so that we can save a few rupees which we can use for our onward journey. With the tickets in our hand, we are ready to get into whichever train comes next to Pune πŸ™‚

The Jewel of Sahyadris – Lonavala

13.11.2016:

Discovered in 1871 by Sir Elphinstone, the Governor of the Bombay Presidency, Lonavala lives up to its name, which means ‘city surrounded by caves’. One of the most famous hill stations known for it’s lakes and breath-taking views is also well known for it’s chikki and fudge, Lonavala is a must visit place for every tourist or adventure-lover. If I have had enough time with me, I would have definitely gone for a trek around one of the circuits here, but as time is a constraint now for me, I would just go around for this time!! Come, soak along with me in the beauty of this place πŸ™‚

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14.20 hrs – The plan is to explore Lonavala first and then proceed to Khandala. We kick started our journey and proceeded to one of the most famous tourist point of Lonavala called the ‘Lions Point’. Now don’t ask me why was it named so? Β πŸ˜€ . Lonavla – Known as the ‘Jewel of Sahyadris’, is a perfect choice for a quick visit that to if you have got less time with you. A hot spot for Mumbaikars and Pune-ites, Lonavla is the most popular weekend gateway. Whenever we think of Maharashtra, the first thing that strike our minds will be Khandala and Lonavala as both Bollywood and Tollywood has romanticized this place for a very long time πŸ™‚

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The up-hill road is narrow and curvy and it took us around 30 mins to reach the Lions Point. We started walking toward the cliff and the beauty in front of us is beyond description. This point gives us a panoramic view of the entire valley and hills and a few waterfalls. Though this time or season is not the right time to visit this place, I will leave the beauty of this place during monsoons to one’s own imagination. Well-known for it’s weather, Lonavala is really an ideal place to break free all our worries and fall in love with the nature.

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We have gone around the area and looked around the area on the other side of the road too! It too gives some fantastic views. Our next stop is the Bushi Dam that was mentioned by my cousin to us earlier. One has to walk for 10 minutes in order to reach the dam. It was almost dry except for the water in the reservoir. Another 3 min walk from the dam would take you to the reservoir where one can sit with their feet being washed with the cool waters. This would be definitely a hot-spot during the monsoons as the water gushes down and the place is ideal to play as it’s not too steep or dangerous.Β And I heard many of my Mumbai friends saying thatΒ theyΒ love to throng at Bhushi dam, where water runs over the steps of the dam, creating a beautiful waterfall.

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The third spot is the Lonavala Lake and again there was no much water and we just walked down for some distance and resumed our journey. The fourth point that was included in my driver’s listΒ is a children’s park and we turned it down :-p . Though we were a bit disappointed as most of the places were dry and looked like some routine places, I could very well imagine how beautiful this place would be in the monsoon. So, it was decided, Mythri and I would be visiting this place again, that too during one of the monsoons πŸ™‚

Khandala is waiting!!